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McCrone man at the wheel

At the age of 47 and after more than 20 years travelling to union meetings by public transport, mainly by train, Dougie Mackie learned to drive less than two years ago. As the new EIS president, he will now be clocking up the miles as he drives home the remaining complexities of the post-McCrone agreement from his base in Oban.

Mr Mackie is a native Fifer but has a long association with Argyll and Bute after becoming a geography and guidance teacher at Oban High and school rep within two years of joining the staff. He first came to prominence during the mid-1980s dispute when his school was targeted for industrial action.

John Mackay, the Tory education minister, was local MP and a former Oban maths teacher.

Mr Mackie has held a variety of local and national positions and served more than 10 years on the institute's salaries' committee. He was unopposed for his presidency. Having been involved in the post-McCrone talks and a member of the support staff working group, he is keen the deal is agreed by all sides. He is critical of secondary heads who "identify with the teachers' side at national level and operate as members of the local authority management side in local negotiation committees".

With his rural and national brief, he is keen to ensure the agreement is "fully and equitably funded" and that authorities such as his own are not disadvantaged because they have a large number of schools with small rolls.

He is particularly enthusiastic about the union's e-learning partnership with Paisley University and its ability to deliver chartered teacher modules in rural and island schools. "Make sure you mention Coll and Tiree," he says with an obvious eye to the next local elections.

At national level, he believes some councils have yet to take the post-McCrone collegiality on board while he is optimistic about the fruitful contacts with the Executive and Parliament. But as a Raith Rovers supporter, you have to be optimistic.

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